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Jennifer Lawrence offends with story about 'butt-scratching' on sacred rocks

The Guardian logo The Guardian 9/12/2016 Elle Hunt

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Jennifer Lawrence has drawn scathing criticism for an anecdote she told on the BBC, about disrespecting local customs while shooting in Hawaii.

In a recent interview, Lawrence told a story about “butt-scratchin’” on rocks that are considered sacred to native Hawaiians, while shooting The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in 2012.

“There were … sacred … rocks — I dunno, they were ancestors, who knows — they were sacred,” said Lawrence. “And you’re not supposed to sit on them, because you’re not supposed to expose your genitalia to them.

Jennifer Lawrence attends a Global Fan Screening of "X-Men Apocalypse" at BFI IMAX on May 9, 2016 in London, England. © Mike Marsland/WIREIMAGE Jennifer Lawrence attends a Global Fan Screening of "X-Men Apocalypse" at BFI IMAX on May 9, 2016 in London, England. “I, however, was in a wetsuit for this whole shoot – oh my god, they were so good for butt itching!”

Waving a glass of white wine and at times unable to speak due to laughter, Lawrence said, “one rock that I was butt-scratchin’ on came loose”, prompting a landslide.

“And all the Hawaiians were like: ‘Oh my god, it’s the curse!’” she said, imitating shaking her first at the sky. “And I’m in the corner going, I’m your curse. I wedged it loose with my ass.”

Removing black sand or lava rocks is thought to cause bad luck under what is known locally as “Pele’s curse”.Lawrence was not specific about where or when the incident took place, but Catching Fire was shot at various locations around Hawaii, including Maui, in late 2012.

She told the anecdote on The Graham Norton Show, where she was promoting her upcoming film Passengers with co-star Chris Pratt, and appearing with Jamie Oliver. (Vox noted that Lawrence shared the same story with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan in January 2013.)

Though the episode broadcast on 3 December, the clip started drawing criticism online on Wednesday, with social media users condemning Lawrence for her apparently wilfully disregard for sacred customs.

The clip has been viewed more than 1m times on BBC One’s Facebook page. A tweet labelling it “the whitest story ever told” had been shared more than 1,000 times.

Twitter users were unimpressed as the clip circulated.


At time of writing Lawrence had not responded to the criticism.

The actor was 22 when shooting Catching Fire, the second instalment of the Hunger Games franchise that catapulted her to stardom.

In August, she was named film’s best-paid female star for the second consecutive year, with Forbes putting her earnings at US $46m (£34.9m) for 2016. She was also the youngest actor to be listed.

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